Blog

“Worship Wars 2020” – Guest Post by Jonathan Mason

We are honored to bring you this guest post by Jonathan Mason, the director of Word Worship Music, on a topic that is central to all worship leaders. And be sure to read more about the new initiative “The Church Will Sing” at the end of the post.

When I evaluate a song for the church, my question isn’t so much whether or not it sounds like everything else we call “worship,” but rather whether the song invites the hearts and minds of believers to see and savor Jesus as he really is.

Worship. This one word in today’s church culture holds massive connotations. We’ve heard it said over and over again that worship doesn’t equal music and music doesn’t equal worship. The reality is, for better or worse, we have created a whole sub-culture of Christian music and have labeled it “Worship.”  Whichever side of the fence you fall on, it’s important that we think about the place of music in the church, lest history repeat itself again.

A significant turning point in my life occurred when I traveled to Jamaica to help lead worship alongside a missionary team. With my acoustic guitar, I played many contemporary songs that were very well known back in the United States. The church body joined in the best they could and showed appreciation for my being there. When I had finished, a woman in the congregation stood up and burst into a song. Immediately, I heard tambourines and other percussive instruments join in, followed by the rest of the congregation’s voices. I looked around and saw the church gathered and connected in a way I was not used to, around a song I did not know, with a style that didn’t seem common to me.  To this Jamaican church, the song was normal. To them it was familiar. It was a musical language that worked within their region and context. There was no acoustic guitar. There was no bass guitar. There was no drum set. Was this not worship? It didn’t sound like everything I was used to. They had only their hands for clapping, voices for singing, and a few instruments for percussion. The song was in a style that Westerners might call simple, trite, and repetitive, but with it, I had witnessed a powerful, loving worship of God.

Standing on the other side of the many years of “worship wars,” I question how it was ever a battle to begin with. When we gather as a congregation, we are told to do all things that edify or build up believers (1 Cor. 14:26). This entails loving one’s neighbor as themselves.  We are called in our gatherings to unite and sing “to one another” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Have we ever stopped and pondered what style best accomplishes that in our context? Much of the bickering about musical style stems from our individualistic bent in Western culture. It is concerned mainly with the vertical (me and God) to the detriment and neglect of the horizontal (me and my neighbor) as well as the missional (how our unity in song looks to those outside the church).

We gather to remember (because we need to be reminded) that the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient. Sometimes the way we treat our music in the church we act like it’s the new medium for us to connect to God. Simply put, the Christian’s sacrifice and offering has already been accomplished (1 Peter 3:18) and it’s Jesus who brings us to God.

When I evaluate a song for the church, my question isn’t so much whether or not it sounds like everything else we call “worship,” but rather whether the song invites the hearts and minds of believers to see and savor Jesus as he really is. If we are only looking for one musical style within worship music what is preventing us from creating a new norm that we will be fighting to break free from in the years to come?

Jonathan Mason is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and former student of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. With the academia background, working within a local church as a music director, and traveling with a nationally touring worship band, Jonathan has developed a deep passion for music ministry. He is currently serving as the director of Word Worship Music, a label imprint and publisher under CURB|Word Entertainment in Nashville, TN.

The first song from Word Worship Music’s new initiative, The Church Will Sing, incorporating churches from all around the United States as the featured vocal, is available now.  “Even Louder” is a collaboration between Bethel Music’s Tony Brown, Housefires Jonathan Jay, and Word Music’s Matt Armstrong and Benji Cowart. The song was performed as part of this year’s “The Bible Tour” by hip-hop artist Steven Malcolm.  There are 9 more songs in the works and churches can still record themselves singing to be the congregational voice for what’s yet to come. For more information visit www.TheChurchWillSing.com / http://smarturl.it/EvenLouder

Who Is Actually Viewing the Worship Plans?

Man with guitar in front of computer

You’ve prayed, planned, and shared the worship flow with your team in WorshipPlanning.com.  But now you want to know who is actually looking at the plans ahead of time.  Hopefully it is evident by how prepared your team members are when rehearsal comes.  But there certainly are times when you’d like more concrete information before rehearsal.  Well, now you can know. Right on the worship flow editor page in your WorshipPlanning account there is a “view count” that looks like this:

Screenshot of view count on the worship flow page.

When you click on the icon, it shows you a list of the viewers.  This more-detailed information is only available to those with the ability to edit the worship flow.

Notice at the top of the window there is an option to be notified the first time a person views the worship flow.  Notifications can be sent via email or text.  We have more information about all this in an article on our Support Center, including when we don’t count views.  Be sure to check it out!

Get Feedback with “Likes”

As a small feedback mechanism, we’ve added the ability for your team members to “like” a worship flow that you’ve shared with them. The “thumbs up” icon on the worship flow page shows the number of likes for that service

You, as well as anyone else that can see the worship flow, can see who else has liked the flow. Exactly how this feature is used is up to you. For example, it could be a great way for your team to a give you an acknowledgement that they have everything they need and have begun practicing.

Merry Christmas!

We just wanted to take a quick moment to wish you a Merry Christmas, and to say Thank You! God blesses your congregation every week through you. And there is no doubt that through you God blesses us, as well.

Our prayer is that no matter how busy the Christmas season may be, none of us lose focus of Jesus.

Merry Christmas!
-tom and the worshipplanning.com team

Multiple Accounts – Made Easy

Young family sitting on couch sharing a laptop.

Do you manage multiple WorshipPlanning.com accounts?  Perhaps you are a parent that manages your account as well as the accounts of your children that serve at church.  Or maybe you serve at more than one church that uses WorshipPlanning.com.  Either way, you’ll appreciate a recent update that makes it easier to get into the right WorshipPlanning account.

Here’s what you do:  First, ensure each account has the same primary email address and password (in the past WorshipPlanning did not allow this, but now it does).  You can change your primary email and password on the Profile page, which is under the “account” menu option when you log in.  Of course, the password should be something secure and not easy to guess.

With email addresses and passwords being the same across all accounts, the next time you log in you’ll be presented a list of accounts that match those credentials.  Just click the one you’d like to log into, and you’re on your way!

By the way, if you share an email address with someone else and need to prevent that person from accessing your account, simply make sure your password is different from the other account.

One last note, if you manage the account for another person, but that person wants to receive notifications at a different email address, you can add that email address as a secondary email.  That way, notifications will go to you and the person whose account you are managing.

Integration with LifeWay Worship

 

LifeWay Worship and WorshipPlanning

We are excited to partner with the great folks at LifeWay Worship, in a manner that greatly benefits you. For those not familiar, LifeWayWorship.com is a fantastic musical resource with a full array of assets from instrumental parts to accompaniment tracks and media. By creating a free account in LifeWayWorship.com, you can search, purchase, and download song assets to help you and your team prepare for worship.

The developers at LifeWayWorship.com and WorshipPlanning.com worked hard to connect our two powerful online resources.  Prior to this integration, it was a multi-step process to get music assets from your LifeWay Worship account into your WorshipPlanning.com account, and then out to your team members.  But now, it’s as easy as clicking “Send to WorshipPlanning.com” in your LifeWay Worship account.

Send Music to WorshipPlanning.com

For the “Send to WorshipPlanning.com” options to be available, you must first authorize LifeWay Worship to connect to your WorshipPlanning account.  But once that is initially done, the authorization will be remembered.

When music files are sent to your WorshipPlanning account, they are either adding to an existing song as a new “arrangement”(if the song exists), or a new song is created in your library where the files will be attached.  Once the files are there, the process of sharing that information is the same as any other song in your Songs library.  Just include the song in your worship flow plans, and your team members will have easy access to the LifeWay Worship files.

ProTip: You can designate each file to be associated with one or more specific “roles”, which will make it even easier for your musicians and vocalist to find the right files for them.  Check out our support article on how to do this.

 

 

 

New Feature: Song Arrangements

Arrangements Icon

Song Arrangements

 

For years, churches using WorshipPlanning.com had to create a separate song in their library to accommodate various arrangements.  With the release this morning of version 5.6 (a free and automatic update for all users), handing song arrangements has become much easier and organized.  Plus, we gave the Song Details and Song Edit pages a nice facelift.

First, let’s take a look at the new Edit Song window.  The fields above the row of tabs are song data that apply to any

Edit Song Dialogand all arrangements (including the “default arrangement), which every song as.  Just click in these fields to edit them.  We also added a couple new fields like “Artist” and “Meter”.  Now notice the new green “arrangements” tab on the left.  When clicked, it will expand from the left edge to allow you to add, delete, rename, and select arrangements.  As you select different arrangements, the information below the tabs changes to show you info specific for that arrangement.  By the way, when you create a new arrangement, it starts with all the data from the “Default Arrangement”.

 

Selecting Arrangement In Worship FlowWhen adding songs to your worship flow, the arrangement selection comes after you’ve add the song.  Once the song is added, if you need to select an arrangement other than the default, click the arrangement icon next to the name song name.  This is also how you can add a new arrangement on-the-fly, if you need.

 

 

 

 

 

The selected arrangement name will show in the worship flow directly under the song title (including in MyWP and all printouts).  If the “default arrangement” is selected, no arrangement name will show.Arrangement Selected

 

For those wanting to clean up separate songs that need to be moved into an arrangement “family”, we’ve added a way to merge songs on the Songs Library page.  Simply click the checkboxes next to the songs you wish to merge, then go to the actions menu option and select “merge songs”.  You’ll be given further instructions at that point.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and look forward to any feedback you’d like to share!

 

Rockin With The Cross Integration

Rockin With The Cross

Happy 2018!!!  We are excited ring in the new year with an announcement of another integration…one that could be a huge benefit to all worship musicians.  Rockin With The Cross (RWTC) is an enormous collection (over 300,000) of Christian music chord charts, guitar tablature and arrangements by worship songwriters.

Once you authorize worshipplanning.com to connect with your RWTC subscription, searching and importing songs is a snap.  Right on the worship flow page, you can search the RWTC library by keyword, then drag and drop the song right into your worship flow.

Most songs have lyrics and chord data, set to the key that is indicated when the song is added.  Those chords can be easily changed by using the “transpose key” feature in worshipplanning.com.

Additionally, most songs have the various song part indicators, which means you can “song map” how the song is to be performed.

We hope this new integration helps with easily getting the information you need so that your musicians can be ready to lead worship!  To learn more about Rockin With The Cross, head on over to their site: https://www.1christian.net/rwtc/

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

It’s with a joyful and thankful heart that we wish you, your ministry, and your family a very merry Christmas!  We feel blessed year-round knowing that we get to serve you each week, in some small way.  To God be the glory!

the worshipplanning.com team